Col. Samuel McDowell Tate of the “Bloody” 6th North Carolina, Writes Home After the Battle of Manassas
This 12-page letter in easily read ink is one of the finest Confederate letters in our collection. As Tate writes this letter to his Uncle, he is Captain of Company D of the 6th North Carolina. In 1862, he advanced to Major and then Lieut. Col. on July 2nd 1863 at the battle of Gettysburg. Upon the death of Col. Isaac E. Avery he lead his troops up Cemetery Hill and in the battle for Seminary Ridge. Following Gettysburg he continued to command the 6th until the war ended.

The letter is headed, “Camp Jones 3rd Brigade Army of the Shenandoah Near Manassas Junction Aug. 6, 1861.” Here is some of the great content:

• “Near Manassas Junction Aug. 6, 1861… We of the 6th N. C. belong to the 3rd Brigade (5 Regiments -11th Miss., 2nd Miss., 2nd Tennessee, 4th Ala., 6th N. C.) Commanded by Brig. Genl. Bee (S. C.) killed at late battle - now by Brig. Genl. Whiting (Reg. Army) a good officer, as was Bee.”

• “…that our state ranks very high as a military people, and the special laudations & extravagant praise of our Regt. from the public, other Regts., and our Generals have well nigh made fools of us all.”

• “On reaching Winchester, we were taken to the front to meet the enemy, then momentarily expected, and on that celebrated "tramp" from there to affect a junction with Beauregard in time for the great battle, traveling day & night over the mountains & all the while in danger of an attack from Patterson & the Tories. The success of which expedition President Davis calls the "great military feat of the age." Our Regt. was specially selected of the 21,000 to close the gap and protect the rear (from whence any & all attacks would come) and of our Regt., my company was the detailed rear, being no. 2 in rank and first in size & strength - hence to Burke was given the honor of furnishing the special guard to the "Grand Army" in its passage over the mountains to Manassas.”

• “…they were posted on the ridge with 8 pieces of artillery & several Regts. of Regular, Marines, Zouaves & Volunteers. Now first over, behind, as it were, to the north is all open fields & rolling land for three miles in rear & right & left. The fight was begun in this open land, 1/2 mile north, but the Yankees, being largely superior in numbers and using shot & shell very effectively, slowly but gradually drove our lines back…. Up to this time the 7th & 8th Georgia, Hampton Legion, and Va. Volunteers with 4th Alabama & N. Orleans "Tigers" did the chief work at this point.”

• “…the front of firing extended regularly along for four miles to the east, but at this time (12 p.m.), it became evident that the enemy intended to make their chief effort here to break thro; and were concentrating their forces from below & their reserves to this point with that view.”

• “As the forward company passed thro, they brot down a concentrated fire from the front (NW), the right (NE), & left (SW) of riflemen posted by the enemy in the bushes except the front fire, which was from Ellsworth's Zouaves uncovered. These raking fires broke our lines & produced the utmost confusion, full one half of the men thus uncovered retreating in disorder to the woods. Most of them were brot back and again moved out. During this time, my men, instead of retreating, fell to the ground & remained so some time, when I ran tho the gap to see the "work" ahead. Returning I ordered a forward. When just about thro to this opening in front of Battery, the Regt. retreated in confusion, some directly south, others back by me.”

• “During this time that our Co. was over with others drawn up at Head Quarters, an attack was looked for from a point opposite & known as "Stone Bridge." In this we were disappointed, owing to rout beginning up on the west. The enemy at Stone Bridge continued to "do likewise."

• “The "men in the woods" were collected, many of them and carried in the pursuit, by Lt. Col. Lightfoot & Maj. Webb, connecting themselves with the 7th Virginia Vols. and encamped with them north of the "field" that night. I went back at dark to the "Junction" where our baggage & provisions were & there found 3/4 of the Regt., 140 being the number with Lt. Col.”

• “I having largely the mass of the Regt. made that the "headquarters" & proceeded early next morning to the battle field & around to pick up & bury the dead and find the "missing" & send them in. It was in this 7th Va. camp that I found Lt. Col., Maj., Capt. Freeland & Capt. Avery with 100 or more men. I told them what I had done & where the Regiment was. They, the Lt. Col., Maj.. & others, as aforesaid, then struck out for the camp established at the "Junction." This was Monday morning 10 o'clock; and not one of those officers or men know that Col. Fisher was killed!!! when we had his body in a coffin & on its way home 5 hours before. When I told them of his death, they all seemed much surprised!”

• “Poor old Virginia! The very face of the country is changed, lay waste by both armies, more or less as a "military necessity!!!" No law but that of might. If a Regt. wants teams or anything else, they take it wherever found, & the owner is told if he makes objection that the Government will pay for it.”

#L652 - Price $1,295